Success in Long Distance Investing in NOLA?

10 Replies

I'm looking for anyone with experience investing in the NOLA market, especially any long distance investors. I currently have a small portfolio of rental properties in VA which I manage remotely without a property manager, but NOLA is a much further from where I live and it wouldn't be realistic for me to self manage given the distance.

I love the area and eventually would love to move here full time, but I'm still at least 10 years away from that goal due to work. That said, I'd like to start building a portfolio now. 

Does anyone here own any B/C property that is managed through a property manager? Have you had good luck with any particular management company? What has your tenant quality and vacancy been like lately? 

I'm happy to hear any thoughts or suggestions. I'll be in NOLA for the next month and would happily buy you a coffee or beer if you want to sit down and share your experience with rentals here. 

Alex Turner from Turner Property Group is a good property manager in this area. I would just be careful when you run your numbers because NOLA can be tricky. When you are running comps you can't just use a radius as here the areas change quickly and frequently. You therefore need to keep the comps tight in the neighborhood you are looking at. I live and invest here now but came here from Australia and that was the biggest learning curve for me. I can say though that wanting to come live here is a great idea, it is such a vibrant and fun culture. 

@Stephen Keighery 

Thank you for the response and suggestion on the property manager. I've been driving different sub-markets here and have seen how quickly things can change from street to street so I definitely hear what you are saying about the comps. 

Hey Laura, 

I currently live in Los Angeles and invest in NOLA from afar. I have some people on the ground helping but I've loved the market so far. I haven't invested near the city yet, I'm buying across the river from the city in an area known as the Westbank. That's been an area I've really liked. Currently I'm doing flips there and looking to begin buying rentals this year.

I pay attention to the price here very closely and at least for this particular area, rent prices compared to purchase prices are extremely high. From what I've seen it's not difficult to find a deal where the mortgage is about half of what you could rent it for. Of course you'll pay a little more than the mortgage if you have a manager and if there's any vacancy or repairs that come up, but still the rent is fairly high and purchase prices are fairly low.

Ditto to what @Stephen Keighery said, fantastic advice. New Orleans neighborhoods are very tricky. My husband and I live in New Orleans. He has three rental units and we're currently working on our first deal together doing ground up construction. Even with all of that I'm not 100% confident in my understanding of the various neighborhoods. Even one block can make a HUGE difference. You really have to familiarize yourself with the specific area you're looking at. 

The other issue with rentals in this city, and it's the main reason my husband decided to stop at 3 doors and we moved to spec home construction instead, is that most of the homes are very old and you really never know what you're walking into. Termites and flood damage are the two problems you're most likely to run into. I assume since you're out of state you're looking for turnkey properties, right? People seem to have a lot of success with BRRR's & flips here, but I'm not sure about turnkey investing. I just haven't seen or heard about that many people doing that, but it doesn't mean there aren't good deals to be found. Best of luck!!

@Dominique Lux Thank you for the reply, sorry that it took me a few days to see it. I'm originally from CA as well but live primarily on the East Coast now. I'll be spending the next month or so in NOLA to become familiar with the market and get a sense of which streets or neighborhoods I may be interested in investing in and I started to look at Algiers and Algiers point. Not sure if you had any thoughts on that area, but I'll take a look at Westbank as a source or comparison.

I don't need specific names or anything, but generally speaking who do you have on the ground here and how did you connect with them from CA?

I remotely manage my other rentals in VA with minimal local support, but that wouldn't be so easy for me in NOLA due to the distance, so that's the piece that I'm very interested in learning more about. Do you have a traditional property manager or another arrangement?

@Leilah Davis Thank you for the reply. It's interesting to hear about your experience here and I agree that the neighborhood can change very drastically from one street to the next. I'm currently spending some time in NOLA going street by street to establish where I'd be interested in investing.

I'm more interested in BRRR than turn-key property, but this is a new market for me so I guess anything is on the table. BRRR has been my niche in the past.

@Laura Dalla Algiers is a cool area, very up and coming. There's a lot of really old house there with awesome character so a lot of people are buying and renovating there. But I'm pretty sure there are quite a lot of rentals there, I've seen a lot of side by side duplexes that people rent out. 

I'm not sure exactly what defines the Westbank, but I always just kind of considered it all the cities on the West side of the river from the city, like Harvey, Gretna, Marrero, Westwego, Algiers, Terrytown, etc. Those are the cities I've considered for investing, however I'm only doing flips right now, so I can't say how it would be for rentals. 

My dad lives on the ground out there and he was the first person I added to my team to help manage the  flips because obviously I could trust him. From there I also added a few contractors that I've met throughout different projects as well as a realtor that is quite successful in the area. I don't have a property manager right now as I don't have rentals but I would suggest one if you plan to build a portfolio there.

Hey @Laura Dalla - I live in CA and have 3 rental units in a small town about 45 min from NOLA, called Hammond. My initial plan was to invest in NOLA and I lived there for 2 months last year, so I drove around every part of the city. Like many people on this thread said, each street is VERY different. In general, the neighborhoods I like are Freret and Gentilly. Watch out for flood zones because it can change your flood insurance drastically. When you check flood zone, make sure you check FEMA, not LSU (like many people recommend) because insurance goes off FEMA. I had a property that showed it was NOT in the flood zone from the LSU flood map, but when I started looking for insurance, the agent told me FEMA had the property in a flood zone. After much research and analysis, we found out that a little sliver of the house touched the flood zone, so technically, it was in a flood zone.

I highly recommend my Property Management company, so message me if you're interested and I'll share their info. 

Good luck!